I was browsing some foodie blogs this morning, Tartelette being one of them. After following a few internal links, I found an older post of hers with a recipe for Violet Macarons. Now, I wasn’t feeling adventurous enough to try making macarons, but the thought did occur to me to try making some candied violets. So I took a walk back to “The Cove” (basically an area of unfenced pasture at the back of our property) where I knew violets were blooming, and returned with a nice little handful. I decided to pick some mint from my herb garden and candy the leaves, as well. More on that in a bit.
I didn’t have any superfine sugar, but I do have a mortar and pestle, so into that went some granulated white sugar. I’m not sure how “superfine” it was, but I could definitely tell a difference. After lightly beating an egg-white, I was ready to begin.
My plan was to dip the flowers into the egg whites and then into the sugar, but when they all folded up onto each other when I dipped them into the egg white, and it was all gloopy, so I ended up with a big pile of sugar on an unrecognisable purple clump. Yuck. Time for Plan B – brushing the egg white lightly on the petals with a pastry brush, and sprinkling on the sugar. Much more tedious, but also a much prettier result. For the mint leaves, I just dumped a little egg white in the bowl, tossed to coat them, laid them out on the tray with the violets, and sprinkled sugar on them, and set them aside to dry.
Then it was time to decide what to bake, because I needed something to showcase the candied violets, right? After a bit of thinking and looking around the kitchen, I saw the bowl of lemons sitting on the counter and decided on lemon cupcakes. A Google search for a recipe led me to this one and the reviews were high, so I decided to use it – at least the cupcake part. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do about the icing yet. If you’re looking for a good lemon cupcake recipe, you ought to try this one. It has the perfect amount of lemon flavor and it’s wonderfully moist.
While the cupcakes were baking, it was time to decide on the frosting. I came to the conclusion that cream cheese frosting would be best after all, but not the recipe attached to the cupcake one – instead I made a double batch of The Pioneer Woman’s Cream Cheese Frosting. And resisted the temptation of eating it all before I put it on the cupcakes.
After the cupcakes baked and the oven had cooled a bit, I put the tray with the candied violets and mint leaves into the oven to speed drying time as it cooled. It worked pretty well for the violets, but the mint leaves crumbled when I tried to lift them off of the waxed paper. Oh well, there’s plenty more mint where that came from! I just had to use it fresh.
You’ve probably noticed some of the cupcakes have lemon zest on them, and some have a mixture of violet petals and lemon zest. Variety is the spice of life! Also, some of the cupcakes are for a friend’s dad’s birthday, and while I think the violets are lovely, they may be a bit to feminine for him. 😉 Plus, I can never resist lemon zest.
You all have a great weekend! Me? I’m off to eat a cupcake.